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NSHE regents’ bylaw change gets icy reception after those proposing it don’t attend meeting

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The Nevada System of Higher Education’s board of regents on Friday held a special meeting to change the board’s bylaws, but the three regents proposing the change did not attend the meeting. 

If passed, the change would’ve altered when regents could vote for their colleagues to serve as board chair and vice chair. The change would’ve allowed the regents to re-vote for a new board chair, potentially removing Brooks as chair.

“I’d like to remind the board that this bylaw provision was recently revised at the September 2022 quarterly board meeting,” board Chair Byron Brooks said. “At that time, the board amended the bylaws to make the election cycle follow the calendar year, commencing January 1, rather than the academic year commencing July 1. This item proposes to return the election cycle to the previous timeline, which would follow the academic year.”

Two regents immediately made a motion not to change the policy. 

“this is a Friday afternoon, and I’m here, and the regents that put this item on the agenda did not give me the respect to show up to this meeting.”— Regent Stephanie Goodman

The three regents proposing the change – Patrick Boylan, Carol Del Carlo and Donald McMichael – did not attend the meeting.

Another regent questioned the permanence of the policy.

Regent Susan Brager said: “My concern would be how many times can we go through this process if – I’m going to just state it – the people that wanted it aren’t here, speaking up? What makes it stay a policy? How many times can you do it?”

She said a change, or no change, should be set for a certain period of time. She said she will request that issue be brought up at a future regents meeting.

The regents in attendance voted unanimously against the bylaw changes.

Regent Stephanie Goodman said the board needs to improve its communication.

“I believe that we need to work better on our communication because this is a Friday afternoon, and I’m here, and the regents that put this item on the agenda did not give me the respect to show up to this meeting,” she said. “This is not conducive to … proper governing.”

Brager blasted the board at the end of the meeting, citing her experience on various boards.

“We could go back and forth every few months on items and I think it’s very unprofessional, quite frankly,” she said. 

Tarkanian agreed. 

Turmoil in Nevada’s higher education system continues. In the past year, the board agreed to a massive settlement with the former NSHE chancellor, who stepped down in the wake of widespread allegations of dysfunction and mistreatment within Nevada’s higher education system. 

More recently, two now former regents are facing admonishment from the Nevada Ethics Commission, which found “credible evidence to support a determination that just and sufficient cause exists for the Commission to render an opinion in the matter regarding the alleged violations of NRS 281A.420(1) and (3).”

Those ethics complaints arose in the wake of the $610,000 settlement with former Chancellor Melody Rose.

The regents’ chief of staff, hired last year, got a $110,000 settlement from NSHE after the regents tried to fire him after only three months on the job.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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